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Petrified Heart

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“Rica, I've been driving for miles and the snow's not letting up. I don't have enough cash either to stay in a hotel or an inn; I really didn't expect this winter to be so harsh.”

“I'm so sorry, sweetie. Where are you?” your friend asked you. You were supposed to go to her home in Cornwall to meet her new baby daughter, but instead you were stuck on the shoulder of a major road, unsure of how to proceed. With the heavy snowfall and reports coming in of the worst snow storm since record began, you knew you had to shack up somewhere until the weather took a backseat.

“I'm in Westward Ho!,” you answered back, lightly giggling despite your current predicament. In your fifteen years of living in Britain, you still couldn't get used to some of their more outrageous place names.

“Devon? Alright, I have a friend living in Hartland. Shouldn't be too far from where you are, although it's a 17 mile drive from where you are. Think you can handle it?”

You gave a quick “mhmm,” in approval, looking around to see if you were actually capable. The winds were getting stronger, night was about to fall in about an hour, and the snow seemed to be increasing with each passing minute. You knew that if you wouldn't leave now for Hartland, you'd be stuck God knows where, cold and broke.

“Great! I'll give my friend a ring and if all’s well, I'll text you the address. Stay safe, sweetie.” And with that she hung up on you, the beeping of the hang up tone in tune with the howling of the winds.

Thankful that you packed that hot thermos of coffee before you left London, you reached for it on the passenger side and took a long sip. You really didn't mind the long drive from the city to Rica’s home; in fact, you liked driving, and had insisted to drive there instead of any other more practical way of getting there, like booking a flight or taking the train, because you liked the feel of the steering wheel in your hands and because one can't really sing to music at the top of their lungs whilst one is in a plane cabin or a train car. This dilemma was one of the only times your persistence proved to be your downfall, and you chastised yourself for not acquiescing to your common sense, as well as for postponing the trip for so long.

A ping interrupted you from your internal berating, and you looked at your phone to find a message from Rica, containing an OK signal and an address. “Blackpool Mill Cottage, huh,” you muttered to yourself as you entered it to the satnav. By the name alone, it sounded like a posh place, or somewhere straight out of a Regency costume drama.

After a forty minute drive, you reached a cottage that was a stone’s throw away from the seaside. The view would have been beautiful, but the gloomy skies and terrible weather made the rocks scattered along the shore more menacing than inviting. You parked your car beside the cottage and got out, taking your duffel bag from the boot as you did so. Stopping in front of the house for a moment, you couldn't help but feel as though it looked familiar, but you couldn't remember why; this was your first time in Devon, and this cottage was too far from the main roads to be seen in passing.

As you walked towards the front step, you borrowed some courage from a deep breath; you weren't that magnificent when it came to talking to people you were unfamiliar with, especially if you approached said people whilst asking for a favour. You knocked on the door, and heard a dog bark from the inside. “Hello?” you called out, raising your voice just enough so that you can be heard. “I'm Rica’s friend, forgive me for bothering –”

The opening door interrupted you, and looking at the person who opened the door, you finished your sentence, but with a completely different tone.

“You,” you let out, your tone changing from careful politeness to a shocked tone tinged with dread.

Suddenly, you realised why the cottage looked so familiar. You had seen it before, in an early episode of a six-part mini series by the BBC, a series the man in front of you acted lead role in.

He looked so different from when you met him last. There was a scar on his forehead now; you remember reading somewhere that he got that in a minor accident after a run of shows for a production at the Donmar. He was no longer some skinny whip of a thing; his built was now leaner, and you could see the outline of some muscles through his cashmere jumper. He let his hair grow out again, his soft curls reaching the nape of his slender neck. He had a beard now, and you never thought it would suit him until you saw it on him. Time had truly done its work on him, with barely noticeable lines replacing the pudge of youth in his face.

You never thought you’d admit it, but he was gorgeous. Still.

As the wind rushed into the cottage, so did all the memories you had with this man. You remember how you had met at uni and, along with Rica, you two were part of an unstoppable trifecta. Things were going well up until two years after you three had graduated, when you and the man in front of you were drinking in your then flat. You weren't single at the time, and he, (seemingly) entranced into an alcoholic stupor, had kissed you. You, of course, had pushed him away and sent him home. The morning after, he called you up and apologised profusely, and you has assured him that it was alright. However, part of you had always found something wrong with the situation, given that he had an unusually high tolerance to alcohol and the both of you didn't really have strong drinks that night. In your mind, his actions had been a grave misjudgement of your character, and you took offence in that, ultimately resulting in minimal contact over a decade and a half.

It was so difficult to understand let alone describe how you felt about this man. You held him in your heart, but you were insulted by what you deemed to be his perception of you. You loved him, as if he were a brother, but never enough to forsake your principles and call it all and write it off. In your mind, you rationalised your avoidant behaviour as tough love; you wouldn't give him the attention he's seeking until he finds the resolve within him to shape up.

And you wouldn't admit it to yourself then, but you were a little discontent with how he didn't actively seek you out after the entire debacle; you thought of it as a statement of what you meant to him; not enough to hold on to, not worth it enough to retrieve. You didn't know it, but that was the reason why you couldn't help but feel an inexplicable hurt whenever you thought of him, or saw him on the television or in films, which got more and more frequent as he worked his way to the top.

Even then, you couldn't top lingering in the thought of him from time to time. In the years you spent apart, you watched him become the actor he had always wanted to be. And offended as you were by ‘the incident’, you couldn't deny that you were so proud of him for getting to where he was. All those late nights crying over frustrations and stressing over his early theatre scripts had finally paid off, and you couldn't help but feel peace and pride whenever you remembered the times when you were there for him while he wasn't there for himself. Sometimes, when an arrogant fan girl would comment on some online article that she was his number one fan, you'd catch yourself mumbling something about watching the same play five nights in a row as he performed for a near empty theatre before she became number one. Even if you weren't there for most of his career, you were there at its foundation, and you drew a slight contentment from that, probably overcompensation for your guilt over refusing to be there the rest of the way.

He slipped to your side and reached behind you to close the door. Having him that close to you, you smelled the scent of his cologne, along with his own distinct yet pleasant scent that you could never forget. You felt the dog pawing at your leg, and you crouched down to have a look at it, putting your bag on the floor as you did so. A chocolate brown Cocker Spaniel with eyes as wide as heart can hope wagged its tail in front of you, panting excitedly as it looked into the depths of your soul. You couldn't help but smile as you looked at the sweet dog, shaking its paw and rubbing behind its ears before it practically leapt into your arms and started licking your face.

“His name’s Bobby,” he said as he watched on.

“Thanks for letting me in, Tom,” you replied, still unable to look at him in the eye.

He smiled a sad smile, and the warm firelight flickering across his face highlighted the bitter sweetness curved on his lips. “Didn't I promise you that I'll never leave you out in the cold?”

You turned your head away from his dog’s affections as he echoed what he said that night. “I can't help but get this feeling that we're meant to be in each other's lives, you know? If you were mine, I'd never let you go. I'll never leave you out in the cold,” he whispered as he sat with you on that small sofa, moments before he swoop in to kiss you, a small spot of calm before the storm. You stayed silent, holding back your tongue. Angry as you were, you couldn't lash out on the person who took you in and saved you from freezing to death; at least, not yet. Avoiding the question, you stood up, his dog running off to somewhere else in the house as you looked around.

The cottage was an open one storey affair, with most of everything except the master bedroom visible upon entering the threshold. What would catch one's eye aside from the high beamed roof was definitely the fireplace, especially then, as it crackled and burned slowly, shedding its amber light onto the sofa, the armchairs, and the circular crimson carpet in front of it, small rugs littered all over the red surface. The light went so far as to reach the far side of the cabin, where the kitchen was in one corner, flanked by the small dining table. There was a door that was ajar, and from what you could see, it was probably the master bedroom.

“I'm sorry I haven't any electricity,” he said as he walked closer to stand next to you.

You gave him an incredulous look. “Did you forget to pay the bills again?” You asked him, remembering that time he lived in total darkness because he had forgotten to pay his bills for his flat, and how he crashed with you for a week until the landlord put his electricity back.

He smiled fondly, as if he remembered the exact thing you did. “No, apparently there was a truck that skid on some ice and knocked over an electrical pole. There hasn't been any electricity for the past three days now.”

“All that aside, this is a pretty nice place, Tom.”

“You think?” he asked you, a hint of excited pride in his voice. “This was actually a filming location for the Night Manager. I loved it so much I asked the owner if I could buy it, and although I was told that it was a heritage property, miraculously she agreed. After that I had it renovated to be a one storey bungalow type of thing, given that I don't need the extra space.”

You chuckled. It was a good thing this boy didn't know how powerful his gift of gab was; if he was even remotely aware of how powerful his charm was, it would prove to be the downfall of so many women across the globe.

“You must be freezing. Do you want a hot bath? I ran one for you in case you wanted one.”

At the mention of a hot soak, you started to feel your bones aching from the cold. You drew a deep breath and resigned yourself to this; if you were going to be stuck with him, at least you should be comfortable.

“Yeah, I'll take you up on your offer,” you sighed. “It's been a long day.”

Following him with your pyjamas in hand, he led you past the door that led to his bedroom, where Bobby was sleeping soundly in the corner, a warm fleece blanket covering his tiny body. Wordlessly, Tom opened the door to the bathroom and let you in before he gently shut the door.

His bathroom wasn’t awfully spacious, but there was a wide bathtub waiting in front of you, steam rising from the surface, where a cheeky rubber “duckie” that looked more like William Shakespeare than a duck floated surreptitiously. You smirked in amusement at the floating toy, whose design made it hold a quill and a scroll that said “To be or not to be”; Tom’s sense of humour and love for all things Shakespeare had remained unchanged through the years. Almost every flat surface was covered with lit candles, giving the room a soft golden glow. It gave you quite the romantic vibe, until you realised that: 1) you hated his guts from years ago, and 2) there was a power outage, and probably even he figured that it would be difficult to bathe in pitch black darkness.

Remembering the coldness from outside, you put your hair up and stripped before gingerly entering the tub. You let out a deep sigh of relief as the hot water came in contact with your skin, soothing your agitated muscles and calming the tension that clutched your mind.

The door suddenly flew open, and you scrambled to cover your naked self.

“Oh- oh my god I’m so sorry,” Tom stuttered, quickly closing the door, hiding behind it in shame. “I thought you wouldn’t undress until -“

“N-no, it’s fine,” you answered back, raising your voice so you were sure he heard you. A warmth that sang from the blood in your veins crept up to your cheeks, heightening your flustered emotion. “What was it?”

“Um, feel free to use the bubble bath. It’s on the ledge by the tub’s faucet. And there’s a towel over there by the sink; it’s for you,” he replied quickly. You gave a soft smile at the sound of his voice; after all these years he still sounded the same when he was embarrassed.

“Th-thank you,” you replied offhandedly, unsure how to respond.

Soon you were able to make a mountain of bubbly foam, and you shared the slippery mass with the Shakespeare duckie. Sighing, you took it in your hands and cupped it front of you, as one would hold a real duckling.

“What should I do, Bill? How am I supposed to feel about him?” you asked it, contemplating within that space between exasperation and confusion, and acceptance. “I don’t even know why he’s being so kind to me even though I’m being so cruel…” you trailed off, the guilt starting to catch up to you. The Shakespeare duck obviously said and did nothing, but its plastic beak curved into a smile seemed to provide a world of clues that pointed the scroll it held close to its chest. “That is the question,” you began, trailing off where the words ended. “Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?”

Should you just accept Tom and forgive him, despite what he had done before? Even you had to admit that the bitter blood you held for him had been cold for years, if ever bubbling to slight irritation at most. And you didn’t even really know his reasons for kissing you; a part of your rationality told you that maybe you should have given him a fair chance by letting him fend for himself before you passed judgement on him for what you deemed as a lack of good judgement. You put your hands over your open mouth in sheer shock, knowing the soapy taste of bubble bath first before spitting it out. At that moment, you realised that you were the biggest hypocrite of all time; wanting to be judged fairly but not giving fair judgement to those who deserved it.

Or should you just continue this act of distance and coldness until everything found its way into a natural death? You’ve put so much time into keeping him at bay, and you were already too far gone to be so suddenly insecure just because of a novelty rubber bath toy. You glared at the Shakespeare duckie and grimaced at it for almost making you change your mind; your stubbornness may prove to be your most damning or gracious trait yet.You pushed the duckie away, its rubber body bobbing away from you as it disappeared into a fog of bubbles.

You rinsed yourself of the foam and stepped out of the tub. Drying yourself with the towel that Tom gave you, you made your decision: you won’t change your act just yet. But you sighed heavily; you knew that if you were to see honest remorse from him or at least an explanation for what happened all those years ago, your defences would start cracking and leave you a captive in his mercy. Dressing yourself, you decided that you’d keep your walls up, but you’d give him a chance. As much as you disliked his guts for what he did, he still deserved that chance to explain himself, a chance you’ve starved him of for so long. And you knew that if he apologised with the sincerity you had always sought to receive, you would let your guard slip a little, just enough to let him know that there is no more derision in your mind.

You blew out all the candles he used, and with the sheer number of candles he used, you felt like you had turned at least fifty years old. Emerging from the bathroom and out his bedroom, you looked around the cottage. You couldn’t see much out the window, as it was dark out. Tom stood by the fireplace, a warm glow casting itself around him, making him look like a radiant shadow. You walked up to him, feeling so vulnerable because of your contemplations in his bathroom.

“Soup?” He asked as he held two bowls of soup in either hand. You walked over to him and took the bowl he offered to you before sitting down on the rugs, your back leaning against the couch. He followed your movements, and ended up sitting beside you, albeit keeping considerable space from you.

“Will you sleep on the bed or…?” He asked, and you shook your head.

“I am a guest in your home, Tom, and I owe this warmth to you. You could've left me out whether or not you knew it was me. I won't take your only bed, Tom. I'll take the couch.”

He opened his mouth again, probably to ask you if you were sure, so you cut him off before he had the chance to talk you through it, saying that you were sure and that you'll be fine.

“What brings a city man like you so far into the country?” you asked him, trying your best to break the heavy silence that hung like a fog of war between you. Knowing that he was born and raised in the city, it peaked your interest as to why he ended up relocating to a cottage by the sea in the middle of near nowhere.

“2016 was…,” he sighed, and you understood. You knew about 2016, and even you couldn't help but feel sorry for the aftermath that followed. Even if you hadn't met him in years, that lasting connection between you told you that he was utterly decimated at the hands of people who merely watched on and forced him into degradation and cruel inquisition. Ironic as it was, coming from you, you knew he didn't deserve what happened to him. You knew him better than that, and knew that his actions weren't so severe as to merit such brutality from people who only knew by name and face. “...difficult and I just… wanted to get away from it all, I guess.”

“...Like a hermit,” you uttered, unable to stop yourself from saying your thoughts out loud.

“Yes, very much like a hermit,” he chuckled.

You both stared straight at the fire, holding onto your bowls of soup but there was no talking, no eating. All there was was tension compressed into the four feet of space between you, and the heavy silence that lingered on, occasionally punctuated by the crackling of the firewood in the hearth.

“I'm so sorry for what happened in your flat all those years ago,” he blurted out, turning his head to face you, gauging your reaction with his intent eyes. Rendered still by his gaze, you knew this was going to be your downfall; he was sincere and ultimately apologetic, and in his eyes was this dark ocean of guilt and longing.

You shifted, turning around so that you were still seated, with your front facing him. “Be honest, Tom. You weren't drunk then, weren't you?” you half-whispered, looking up to look him straight and the face, letting him know that if he lied, his own body would betray him.

He smiled a sad smile, the same one he gave you when he welcomed you into his home. “Nothing gets past you, doesn't it? No, I… I wasn't drunk.”

“So why did you do it?” you asked on, an unmistakable tone of anger starting to take over your voice. Confrontations are better planned when you aren't saved by someone's mercy and generosity, but with everything that happened and the haze that followed after, you felt as though you had the right to know.

“I… I knew that James was cheating on you even then and I….” he was stilled into silence as he relived the past in his mind. You winced; just the mention of your ex boyfriend’s name triggered agony to rush through you, watching over you like a wave.

“Huh, I guess they were right,” your tone lost its edge, mellowing into acquiescence as you turned around again to look into the flames.

Up until you had walked in on your good-for-nothing ex boyfriend in the act of utter infidelity, you didn't know that he was cheating on you, and anyone else who told you that he was unfaithful was met with your complete trust in him, trust that would be later broken upon your own bed as he lay in the arms of someone else. A quiet devastation followed after, but even then your pride wouldn’t let you open up about it to anyone else, not even Tom, who swore to be there for you when you needed him. “I was the only one who didn't know that he was cheating on me,” you whispered, more to the flames than either of you as your past started to piece together.

“And I…,” Tom continued, struggling to find the words to say. “I knew you deserved better than some unfaithful scum. I knew I was a lot of things, but I wasn't that low, and who I was at the time believed that you deserved someone who loved you. I mean, I still do, but who I was at the time wasn’t wise enough. Which is why I tried and failed to do what I wanted to do to show you. Even then, kitten, I knew I loved you…”

You turned around, not believing what you just heard. Rica had always told you that you were the densest person she knew, but you never really understood what gave her a reason to say so as you were so perceptive of anything and everything. But now, with Tom's confession spelling it all out for you, you finally understood why. All those times spent with you in your flat instead of hanging out in bars like a normal uni student would, all the flowers and gifts he would shower you with on Valentines’ Day and on your birthday. Hell, at one point you were supposed to go to Suffolk with him and Rica, but the latter had “mysteriously “backed out, leaving you to be the only one he introduced to his mum and sisters.

All of a sudden there was clarity. And then the anger returned.

“You loved me, and so you allowed yourself to be the other man? ” you hissed, your words vitriolic. “Have you no respect for yourself? Have you no dignity, foregoing your own worth to try and save me?” You put your bowl down by the floor, knowing that if you didn’t, you'd probably spill it all over his face, given how beside yourself you were in your anger. He set his aside as well, averting his eyes from you, seemingly still searching for what to say.

He faced you and gave you that sad smile again, blinked slowly as the firelight’s glow amplified the sincerity of his expression. He opened his mouth, and what he said shook you to the very core of your soul.

"My petrified heart couldn't stop saying your name. You know… the moment I met you, I knew I was born to beg for you."

Your lips parted in shock, and he seized the chance to kiss you, his age old attempt finally actualised and victorious. His warm lips moved against yours as he leaned into the kiss, his hands cupping your face as his beard brushed against the sides of your lips and made you feel things. His hands moved until his arms held you closer by the waist as heat radiated through your body, making you begin to forget your name, your history, your anger…

He pulled away, and immediately a hand covered his lips as if he was just as shocked as you.

“Forgive me, I—” Tom stuttered, eloquence forgotten. “It's getting late. We — I — , you… we should go to sleep now.”

He picked up the bowls of soup and retreated into the darkness as you lay down on your side on the faux fur rug, taking the blanket on the sofa and covering yourself with it. Staring into the flames, you replayed the memory of his lips in your mind. Had all the anger dissipated with that one moment of contact, had the annoyance? It was as if he had laid siege to your fortress with flames, his kiss containing the same fire he had asked you to hold for years and years. You laid on your back and watched the shadows flicker on the high ceiling. Trying your best to discern your emotions, you slipped into sleep.

You woke up with a start, unsure why you did as you sat up. The lack of muted light outside told you that you had woken up before the dawn, and the clock by the door said that it was half past two. The winds howled outside, rattling the windows as the snow continued to fall heavily. You felt like someone was watching you, and your eyes scanned the dim room. In the warm, amber glow of the firelight, you saw nothing.

Turning your head towards the fireplace, your soul almost slipped away from your body as what you saw startled you.

Before you was Tom, in his jumper and pyjama bottoms, looking tired and restless with his back to the hearth as the firelight formed a soft halo around him. He sat cross legged before you, his gaze intent on you as your breathing started to calm down.

Had he been watching you while you were asleep? You weren't sure, and you spent a good few minutes looking at him with wide eyes, wary of his next move.

“I can't take it anymore,” he whispered, his voice pleading with you as his body shifted nearer. You scrambled backwards, you back hitting the couch. He sighed as he moved back, resting on his heels as he turned his head away from you in disappointment. “All this distance, this frost.

You exhaled audibly. “I… You knew I was committed then, Tom.”

“I know, and I'll spend the rest of my life apologising for it if I have to,” he replied, his face moving a little closer to you as his gaze locked with your own. “I'd cry, crawl, I'd do everything just to have it all back. For things to be like they once were.”

“The past is the past for a reason, Tom,” you whispered back, your voice harsh as it passed your lips. He looked away. “The only people who choose to recreate it are those who haven't learnt from it.”

“I know. And… I've tried to make my own way, but nothing compares to home I've built in your heart. I meant what I said before, and I still mean it now; I’m meant to be in your life, and you’re meant to be in mine,” he said, looking into your eyes with unwavering conviction.

Your breath hitched in your throat. With each word he uttered, it felt as though your defences started to crumble and fall like the empires of old. You didn't know if it was the firelight, or his gaze, or his kiss, or the way his beard made you feel when he kissed you, but you started realising how futile your resistance was by the sheer willpower reflected in his eyes and the unwavering sincerity that tread heavy in his voice

“I know you’re offended by what had happened all those years ago, and I know you're angry, and I promise you I'll let you be that. I'll let you batter me, and badger me, and mock me all you want, but…” he whispered, trailing off as he leaned closer, leaning his forearms against the couch as his stare pinned you in place. “Won't you raze it all down with me? Let’s burn the bridges to our broken hearts and just… be us.

He put his forehead against yours and closed his eyes as he whispered your name. “Please,” he begged, his plea sounding like a solemn supplication, his lips hovering over your own, lying in wait for you to answer his prayer.

The honest yearning that echoed in his voice animated your still limbs as your hands cupped his face, finally giving in to the request as your lips reunited with his, the warmth reaching your heart as you gave into what he had to give you.

It started out as something gentle, but with the way his hands moved through your body and the way you couldn't go on denying him what he craved, it quickly escalated to something much more tactile. His long fingers rushed to the buttons of your pyjama top, making quick work of the buttons until your breasts were exposed to the night air. The fire in the fireplace had died down considerably as you slept, and you felt the lack of sufficient warmth in the air as your nipples stiffened from the cold. Not one to take his time, Tom’s head dipped down to your chest, his lips wrapping around one nipple and sucking on it as his hand made sure that the other was given just as much attention, moving and squeezing as his other hand held your waist to grip you in place.

You drew a sharp breath as the warmth startled you, the pleasure surging through your body as you felt your stubborn will to resist him back down and crawl back to the decrepit crevice it came from. You felt him wrap his arms around you, and he laid you gently on the rugs, his limbs forming a cage around you. Your chest heaved as he leaned in to kiss your neck, his lips trailing down your chest and your stomach as his eyes never left yours. His pupils were blown wide, the blues nearly gone now.

He reached the edge your pyjama bottoms, his nimble fingers slipping beneath the elastic there. You squirmed as his head dipped down to your hips, his beard brushing up against the skin there, and he groaned in approval to the way your body slowly began to be more honest. He pulled on your trousers before growling in frustration, his hands gripping the elastic as he pulled your bottoms down. He pressed his warm lips against your hipbone, hungry lips meeting thrumming flesh. He locked eyes with you and moved up your body, leaning his head against your womb. For a moment, there was nothing but relative silence and sudden stillness, as if the ear pressed against you was listening to your tremulous heartbeat. You laid your head back and let out a soft moan, your eyes fluttering closed as you finally found peace in his gentle touch and warmth.

The silence was broken by the sound of ripping fabric, and you were broken from your reverie as you propped yourself up on your elbows to look down at him, only to find your panties torn to shreds. He hastily tossed the scraps of cloth aside as his head dipped between your legs, before gripping your thighs so tightly that he might've left marks.

His tongue made first contact with your cunt, greedily lapping at your folds as his hands ghosted to your hips, gripping your ass to lift your body closer to his mouth. His thin lips sucked on your clit, his warm mouth curly gently on the sensitive bundle of nerves. Your hands shot down to grip his hair, your body losing its will to go against everything as the pleasure surged through you.

“You're ready,” Tom said, teasing you out of what felt like an eternity of being so close to cumming. Hs voice rough as he put your bottom down to grip your waist, his own bottoms disappearing soon after, He slid up to look at you, his gaze telling tomes of his plans to pleasure you until you pleaded him to stop. You broke the eye contact to look at his cock that was throbbing against your thigh as it precum leaked from the tip.

“You like what you see?” he smirked, clearly full of himself and the way you gasped at his cock. Before you could respond, he kissed you full on the mouth, his tongue slipping through your lips as he did so. You tasted yourself on his lips, mixed with that taste of him that you could never quite forget since that night he first kissed you.

His lips pressed against your neck the moment his thick cock managed to enter you. You gasped, your fingers wrapping around his arms tightly as he nestled himself deep within you, the head kissing the entrance to your womb. Sparks of pleasure ran through your body, and you gasped. Your eyes widened; it felt like you were thrust into a brave new world, where everything you had ever known ceased to mean what they used to.

He stilled himself for a moment, allowing you to adjust to the sheer size of him before he went any further. Your eyes fluttered closed as you started to feel like everything you had ever done led up to him, in this moment. Your lips parted in a voiceless moan as you gripped his arms tighter, your fingers sinking into his flesh.

“Oh darling,” he whispered in your ear, his voice almost sounding like a moan as he brought his hand to your face to cup your cheek. “Please look at me…”

You opened your eyes, and he gave you that sweet, warm smile as if you had never grown apart. You couldn't help but smile back, finally realising that this was what you were missing out on all this time: a serene, placid love that accepted you for who you despite your faults, despite everything you've lacked.

His hips started moving, sharp thrusts drawing hushed moans from you as you gripped his shoulders this time, eyes intent to keep their gaze on his. Your hands roamed downwards: down his back, his waist, his hips until you grabbed his tight bum.

Tom looked down at you in shock, surprised by you sudden gesture. You gave him a mischievous smile, and pressed his forehead against yours, laughing a breathy chuckle.

“You're such a naughty girl, babydoll,” he said, his tone coloured with a playful warning as his hands cradled the sides of your face. “We’re flipping.”

Before you knew it, your back was pressed against his chest. Your limbs were sprawled out under you to support yourself on all fours, however any effort you made to hold yourself up was practically made useless by Tom’s arm, which wrapped around your waist and pulled you even closer to him as his other arm held you both up.

Tom started thrusting again, wilder this time as his cock nudged deeper and deeper against your womb, grinding against spots you never even knew existed. He placed wet kisses all over your shoulders and the crook of your neck, stopping there for a moment as he nuzzled you there.

He stuck his neck out to look at you, hoping to see what you looked like as his cock pushed repeatedly into your depths. With your eyes closed shut as the pleasure overwhelmed you, you couldn't see how captivated he was as he gazed upon your face contorted ecstasy.

You didn't make much noise, forgetting that the cottage was isolated from the rest of the area as you feared that the neighbours might hear you and realise that you were fetching wood — that is, a completely different kind of wood. An errant thrust went deeper than it should have, and you bit down on your lip to stop a loud moan from escaping,

“There's no one out here for miles, kitten, no need to hold back,” he whispered in your ear, his deep baritone almost sounding like a growling din as he accentuated his last word with a deep thrust back to the depths of your cunt. You couldn't take it anymore; you screamed to the high heavens, and he let out a breathy chuckle, evidently happy with himself and the way he could make you scream despite the initial hostility that you showed him.

His fingers found their way around your breast again, toying with your nipple as he suckled on your ear, and you knew that you were going to come undone soon. Your cunt clenched around his cock, and he groaned as his hips jerked harder, faster against you.

“I know you're c-close, kitten. I- I’m close too,” he moaned, his thrusts speeding up as he became desperate to push you over the edge. “C-come for me, my love,” Tom whispered, gripping you even closer to him.

With his last words, you gave in, your cunt spasming wildly around his cock as you threw your head back, your orgasm tearing through you as you screamed his name. The sound of his name coming from your lips pushed him over the edge, his arms holding tightly onto you as his cum spurted deep inside you. He moaned your name, and you felt another surge of pleasure come over you until everything faded to black.

Something warm pressed itself against your forehead, waking you up. You turned around to find that it was Tom, his arm wrapped you as he smiled at you. Everything that had happened rushed back to your half-asleep brain, and you remembered blacking out as you came in his arms.

“Did you sleep?” you asked him, sitting up as you looked around. In the night, he had clothed your torso with his shirt while he had remained bare chested. Show off.

He shook his head, sitting up with you to fold you up into his arms.

“I couldn't sleep. I was afraid you'd get away from me again,” he admitted, looking down to hide his wistful eyes from yours.

You freed yourself from his arms to stand up and walk on over to the curtains, opening them to find that the snow storm had let up, and the sun was shyly shining through the clouds. As the sunlight settled across the room, you took the chance to look at Tom from afar.

Looking up at you as the sunlight illuminated him, you wondered what had come over you for the past fifteen years to push him away like you did. You sauntered over to him, stopping to stand before him.

“Have you noticed that we're standing in a red circle?” you asked, making a reference to the red carpet under the both of you as you knelt before.

“N-no,” he answered, caught off guard by the sudden question.

“Well, it is said that people are meant to be together, they will inevitably come into a red circle, and they cannot be separated.”

Moving quickly, you straddled his lap, taking him by surprise as you cupped his face and kissed him, the passion of last night resurrecting with a passion.

You broke the kiss and looked at him with compassion. “I'm not going anywhere, Tom.”

His smile broke out into a full grin, and his strong arms pulled you down so that your head lay down on his chest again. He held on to you, eyes tearing up with joy as he finally had what he had always sought to have.

“Except…” you uttered, and the grin on on his face turned into parted lips, waiting with a sense of dread for your next words.

“Now that the sun is up and the snow storm is over… would you like to visit Rica and her baby with me?”

“Yes, yes!” he exclaimed, his heart swelling with relief and joy.

“Well then, let's get going! Let's re-introduce you to the world, my little hermit,” you replied, a gentle smile forming on your face as a beautiful future you had never thought of imagining with him began to unfold.

You both scrambled to your feet, as you clothed yourselves and fixed the living room. Tom put out the fire and you picked your bags up, not forgetting to pick up Bobby as you both headed out the door.

He looked at you with so much pride, as if you were the one to be shown to world with rekindled hope. You locked your arm into his as you walked to your car, taking a moment to watch the sun glimmer subtly on the sea.

You were finally together, as Tom had always wanted. He was right; you were meant to be in each other's lives. Giving it much thought, you realised that you still wanted the same things that you used to, except now you wanted his hand in yours each step of the way. Try as you might, you just couldn't escape him. But in his arms, you never felt more free, and you never felt more loved.